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Health Services Research & Development

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2012 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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2012 National Meeting

3141 — Veterans’ Interest in Sharing Access to Their My HealtheVet Personal Health Record

Zulman DM, Center for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System; Nazi KM, Veterans and Consumers Health Informatics Office, Office of Health Information, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC; Turvey CL, Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare System; Woods SS, Health Services Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Portland, OR; An LC, Center for Health Communications Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Wagner TH, Health Economics Resource Center, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System;

Objectives:
The proliferation of electronic personal health record (PHR) systems has not fully realized the potential for enhancing communication among patients and the network of individuals who provide their care. The objective of this study was to explore preferences about electronic health information sharing among users of My HealtheVet.

Methods:
This study arose through a partnership between health services researchers and the VA’s Office of Health Information with the goal of informing discussions about adding information-sharing capabilities to My HealtheVet. A web-based survey with convenience sample was conducted on the My HealtheVet website between July 7th and October 4th, 2010. Respondents were queried about their interest in sharing access to their My HealtheVet PHR, and were asked to whom they would grant access, the types of information they would share, and the activities they would delegate. Aggregate results are described for 18,471 respondents who both accepted the survey invitation (~73% of those invited) and completed the survey (41% of those who accepted the invitation).

Results:
Among the 18,471 My HealtheVet users who completed the survey almost four in five (79%) were interested in sharing access to their PHR with someone outside the VA (62% with a spouse/partner, 23% with a child, 15% with another family member, and 25% with a non-VA health care provider). Among those selecting a family member other than spouse/partner, 47% lived apart from the specified person. Preferences regarding degree of access varied based on the type of information being shared, the type of activity being performed, and the respondent’s relationship with the selected person.

Implications:
In this large survey of My HealtheVet users, the vast majority of respondents expressed interest in sharing access to their electronic health information with caregivers and non-VA providers. Enabling patients to selectively share access to electronic health information may provide an opportunity to more actively engage long-distant caregivers and non-VA providers in Veterans’ health and health care.

Impacts:
The VA and other existing and evolving PHR systems should explore secure mechanisms for shared PHR access, in order to improve information exchange among patients and the multiple individuals who help care for them.


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